London, Asharq Al-Awsat—Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad said on Thursday that he was confident of victory in the country’s devastating civil war.
Assad was quoted by state news agency SANA as telling his troops that “had we in Syria not been confident of victory, we would not have been able to remain steadfast and resist the aggression for over two years.”
August 1 is “Army Day” in Syria, a national holiday dedicated to the country’s armed forces. SANA quoted President Assad as saying the army was “protecting the homeland’s dignity and honor.”
Syria’s soldiers had shown “courage in the face of terrorism . . . and the fiercest barbaric war in modern history,” he added.
The conflict in Syria, which began as a spontaneous series of demonstrations against the government in 2011, has killed over 100,000 people to date, according to UN estimates, with millions more displaced inside and outside Syria.
Assad’s government has recently begun to step up its propaganda campaign by launching an official account for the Syrian Presidency on the photo-sharing social networking site Instagram. The account shows President Assad and his wife, Asma, visiting hospital patients, attending graduations, comforting the sick and bereaved and being greeted by jubilant crowds.
Syrian government forces have recently won a series of battles against the rebel groups fighting to topple Assad in the city of Homs, around the capital of Damascus, and along the Lebanese border, a key supply line for rebel forces.
However, analysts say that despite its recent successes and its ability to deploy heavy weapons and air power, the Syrian government lacks the resources to re-take control of the whole country, making an outright military victory for either side unlikely in the near future.
Additionally, Syrian government forces have required external assistance from Hezbollah fighters from neighboring Lebanon for some operations along the border, as well as receiving weapons and expertise from Iran, Syria’s only regional ally.
A recent report from the Institute for the Study of War, a think tank based in Washington, D.C., issued earlier this month, said: “Assad’s forces are too limited to conduct decisive operations in multiple fronts simultaneously, and once they move on from one location, they risk losing it again.”